Thursday, February 02, 2006

Modern Philology Rules!

A while back I wrote about a lame journal that took five months to send me a one-line email rejection. At the end of that post I noted that I had now submitted the article to the journal I originally thought would make a better home.

Well, Modern Philology accepted "A Note on the Style of Beowulf 1864a" today, so I'm very happy.

But I want to praise MP not just for having the wisdom to like my scholarship [well, in my mind it's "wisdom"!], but also for operating the way a journal should.

I submitted (electronically!) the Note to MP on 11/30. I immediately received an email saying that the article had been received and that I should have a decision in 90 days. On 1/4 (so just over a month after submission), I received a reader's report and the absolutely most encouraging "revise and resubmit" request I have ever read. The tone taken by Prof. Richard Strier made me want to rush to the library and immediately track down the few loose ends. I re-submitted the article on 1/23 and received the acceptance (with a few additional suggestions from the outside reader) on 2/1. So that's two months from submission to acceptance even with a revision in there.

That, Notes and Queries, is the way you run a journal.

This excellent management is good for MP in so many ways: even if the article hadn't been accepted, I would definitely submit my next article to the journal, and I would spread (and am spreading) the word that Prof. Richard Streir is a good human being and an excellent colleague and his journal is efficient, supportive and comes up with first-rate reader's reports. Hopefully others will hear of my experience and submit their best work. More people, one hopes, will then subscribe individually to the journal (i.e., not just take the library copy out)--because, remember, the most likely reader of Modern Philology is the kind of person who at some point in a career will submit an article of MP.

My larger point is this: good professional practice, from politeness to all deliberate speed to meeting deadlines, could do so much to pull unnecessary angst out of the profession.

And Modern Philology rules!


Dr. Virago said...

Michael, I haven't commented here before, but I've been reading you for awhile. Hello! Anyway, I just wanted to say that Exemplaria is equally efficient. And also -- yay! :)

Scott Kleinman said...

I submitted an essay to MP a few weeks ago and also received a quick acknowledgment and a statement that I would have an answer within 90 days. Your experience encourages me greatly for my future contacts with MP. And, I agree with Dr Virago--Exemplaria is equally efficient. Both journals make excellent use of technology.

Dr. Lisa said...

Cool!!! Congrats, too, btw. I will catalog this with "How I Will Run Things When I Am In Charge."

Tiruncula said...

Michael, I think it's an excellent idea to use a public forum like this to let people know which journals are prompt, professional, and responsive. Thanks for posting this. I can report that JEGP, Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, and RES have also been easy to work with; with JEGP, the time to publication can be longish, but the editors respond quickly, provide excellent feedback, and let you know when you're in the queue.

Any thoughts of adding wall of fame/wall of shame list of journals as a permanent feature of the blog?

Triona Trog said...

Hello Prof. Drout: I would really like to see a blog entry with your thoughts on the Danish cartoon controversy that has made news around the world (I think the US media were a bit slow to pick up on it, but they must have by now!)
Here's a chronology of the whole affair with many links to more info:


theswain said...

_The Heroic Age_ is good too, I try to keep editors and readers hopping to a 60 day response time; regrettably appearance has been rather delayed, so the time between acceptance and publication is longer than I wish, but I'm working on narrowing that down.

theswain said...

Just to add my own adventure: I sent an article to a journal and after four plus months sent an inquiry email. After another month I received my rejection letter in the mail. The letter said that the reader, after nearly five months (a single reader??) had said only "A worthy essay in need of refinement." Without commenting on the aptness of the comment, but something more might be expected after 5 months.